Anything Obscure & Eclectic
Svengali

Svengali

BRINGING AN END TO OUR SHORT SERIES ON EXPERTISE 

n. — allusively, a person who exercises a controlling or mesmeric influence on another, freq. for sinister purpose

fm. a character in George du Marnier’s 1894 novel Trilby, in which the Jewish musician and hypnotist Svengali enchants and exploits ill-fated half-Irish heroine Trilby O’Ferrall. Influential in its time, the novel popularized the Romantic conception of Bohemian Paris, inspired The Phantom of the Opera (1910), and in later years was roundly criticized as anti-semitic. Svengali, as a word, remains.

first published. 1914

inspiration. the good people at NPR Politics and Ron Elving, again, Ron having used the word casually at the tail end of the North Korea episode, April 17.

This entry was published on 20 April 2017 at 9:00 am. It’s filed under S and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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